Earlier this year, Facebook and OTOY revealed a new recording technique to combine 360 degree video with depth information. The football-sized sphere contains 24 cameras (there’s also a smaller version with just 6 cameras), allows the recording of 360 degree virtual reality video with 6 degrees of freedom, making it possible for viewers to not only turn their head and look around themselves while locked into the fixed position of the camera, but move around slightly in the scene.
Now, at the Adobe MAX creator’s conference in Las Vegas, Adobe has unveiled project Sidewinder, an experimental software tool which creates a very similar effect based on just two camera views. Continue reading
Lytro recently upped their Immerge VR Camera to the next generation, with a larger and planar camera array for easier VR video production. Their most highly promoted feature is recording content at 6 degrees of freedom, meaning that you can’t just rotate your view around, but actually move your head around in space (within limits).
At the recent Tribeca Film Festival, the company presented a first VR video experience titled “Hallelujah”, featuring a performance of Leonard Cohen’s popular song, and recorded with the Lytro second-gen Immerge. Lytro’s “Making Of” video not only hints at what VR viewers will see in the video, but also gives some insight into the Immerge production controls and interfaces: Continue reading
Back in August 2016, Lytro unveiled its first Virtual Reality experience, “Moon” (see below), to show off the capabilities of Immerge, the company’s groundbreaking, high-end production camera that records light fields for virtual reality. While it was reportedly an impressive experience for the VR viewer, it also had its limitations (especially with moving objects in the recorded scene).
Now, Ben Lang from RoadToVR talks about a recent visit to Lytro, where he saw the new and improved Immerge prototype. Continue reading
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (or Mixed Reality) headsets have evolved quite a bit over the last few years. Improvements in resolution, lag, and other factors, have led to new, extremely immersive systems such as the HTC Vive. Hovewer, one missing feature is still holding back the technology:
Generally speaking, most of today’s displays consist of a two-dimensional display that’s placed at a fixed distance from the user’s eyes. This creates a conflict for our eyes and brain, which in the real world are used to a linked adjustment of the angle between the eyes (“vergence”) and the focus plain (“accommodation”). Recent proof-of-concept systems use up to three display planes, allowing us to experience discrete near, mid-range and far layer to focus on, but for a better, more immersive 3D experience we’ll need the ability to experience at almost continuous focal range.
The most promising solution to this problem is light field technology: For instance, Nvidia’s light field display prototype has shown successfully (though at low resolution) that it is possible to construct a light field image that allows placement of multiple objects at different focal planes or virtual distances. The Nvidia prototype uses a microlens array, much like in light field cameras from Lytro or Raytrix. Magic Leap is another company working on light field technology. While the company has teased a head-mounted light field display on several occasions, they have yet to explain how exactly their system works, let alone present a working prototype to the public.
Now, another company has entered the light field space. Head-mounted display maker Avegant has announced a new display that uses “a new method to create light fields” to simultaneously display multiple objects at different focal planes. While all digital light fields have discrete focal planes, according to Avegant CTO Edward Tang, the new technology can interpolate between these to create a “continuous, dynamic focal plane”. “This is a new optic that we’ve developed that results in a new method to create light fields,” says Tang. Continue reading
Lytro started out as a small company trying to bring light field photography to the consumer market. The company soon attracted considerable investments and built two consumer cameras – the Lytro Light Field Camera and the Lytro Illum – which brought breakthrough features such as software refocus and synthetic aperture from lab-sized camera arrays to the hands of the end users. Then, however, the company made a major strategic turn, abandoned the consumer market, and realigned itself to focus (pun intended) on Virtual Reality solutions.
In an very frank article on Backchannel, Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal explains the reasons for this move: Continue reading